Welcome to Massachusetts - Cape Cod
Massachusetts - Cape Cod
With its warm sea breezes sand 560 miles of unspoiled coastline, Cape Cod is the most famous beach region in New England. Spectacular ocean settings with views of wide dune fields and sandy bluffs form the edges of Cape Cod. Add to this the charm of numerous harbors, quaint villages, and forests with the smell of the sea, and you'll understand the unique lure of Cape Cod. Spend a night dining on fresh local seafood and luxuriating in lodgings like a majestic seaside resort hotel, a quaint inn, or a B&B. Days are for the beach, for salt water swimming in the ocean or Cape Cod Bay, or freshwater swimming in the region’s many ponds. Swimming, sailing, fishing and whale watching are available the length of Cape Cod. The Cape Cod National Seashore has great walking and bicycle trails in addition to miles of woods and unspoiled beaches. Come by car or hop on a ferry for an invigorating trip by sea. Explore 15 distinctive towns, arts & culture, quaint shops, exciting attractions and countless historic sites, each telling the proud role that Cape Cod has played in American history. And be sure to view the art galleries found from Falmouth to Provincetown. Come visit and you will find why the Cape is captivating.
Overview for Newcomers: A few images can help orient you to Cape Cod. Imagine the shape of the Cape as a right arm extended perpendicular from the body (eastward), with the elbow bent, the forearm pointing upward (north), and the fingers curling toward the head. The Cape Cod Canal separates the Cape from the mainland. Two bridges, the Bourne Bridge, to the southwest, and the Sagamore Bridge, to the northeast, cross the canal.
Regions and towns: The widest area near the shoulder is known as the Upper Cape. It includes a large Army base and the towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich, as well as Woods Hole. The bicep area of the arm is the Mid-Cape, including the towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, and Harwich. Barnstable, the largest town, contains several villages, including Hyannis and Hyannisport. From bicep to elbow is the Lower Cape, composed of Brewster, Chatham (the elbow), and Orleans. The forearm and hand are the Outer Cape, composed of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. The Cape Cod National Seashore runs up the east side of the Outer Cape. From the canal to Provincetown is 33 miles, but don’t be fooled; the Cape is bigger than you think. Most travel is through villages, and the pace is slow.
Waterways: Inside the curl of the arm, between the Cape and the mainland, is Cape Cod Bay. Waters here are generally warmer and calmer than the Nantucket Sound and Atlantic Ocean waters around the outside of the Cape. Bay beaches are good for small children. No surfing here. Also in the Bay, the tides have a large effect on waterfront activities. Very low tides can create vast mudflats offshore. Consult a tide chart when planning water activities.
South of the Cape is Nantucket Sound, which lies between the Cape and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These islands help to calm the heavy surf from the ocean and to keep the waters a little warmer than the open ocean. East of the Outer Cape is the wild Atlantic, with heavy surf and shipwrecking force. These shores were called the Graveyard of the Atlantic in the pre-modern days of shipping.
Roads: Route 6, also called the Mid-Cape Highway or just “the Mid-Cape,” is a limited-access state highway that crosses the Sagamore Bridge and the runs through the middle of the Cape. It is the Cape’s only fast highway. Route 6A (the Old King’s Highway) runs generally parallel to and north of Route 6 from Sandwich to Orleans. It veers close to Cape Cod Bay at many points and ambles through beautiful villages. Route 28 crosses the Bourne Bridge and meanders down the western shoreline along Buzzard’s Bay and then along the southern shoreline to Chatham and then northward to Orleans. It travels through towns and the pace is slow. The road is packed with motels, eateries, stores, entertainments for kids, and more. It passes close to Buzzard’s Bay and Nantucket Sound beaches.
Ferries: Ferries depart from Woods Hole, Hyannis, and Harwich Port to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Self-Guided Drives on Cape Cod
Events - Find Out Where and When
- New England Conservatory Choral and Gospel Music -- Boston, MA
- Behind the Veil: Brides and their Dresses -- Lowell, MA
- "Driving Our Dreams " Exhibit at Heritage Museum and Gardens -- Sandwich, MA
- Masters of Flight: Birds of Prey at Stone Zoo -- Stoneham, MA
- "The Hypocrites's Pirates of Penzance" -- Cambridge, MA
- Spring Tour of Lowell Cemetery -- Lowell, MA
- Assembled: Handmade Arts Market -- Somerville, MA
- Rhododendron Festival at Heritage Museums 2013 -- Sandwich, MA
- The Tradition of Tibetan Rugs -- Lexington, MA
- Alice's Wonderland Exhibit at Ecotarium -- Worcester, MA
- Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit at the Museum of Science -- Boston, MA
- Megan Hilty from "Smash" with the Boston Pops -- Boston, MA